La Strada (Fellini, 1954)

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I’ve always preferred Fellini’s early, lyrical films over the outlandish and fragmented later ones. Masterpieces Nights of Cabiria and La Strada remain essential, even transcendent films obsessed with bridging the most potent aspects of Neorealism with Fellini’s unique brand of comical tragedy. It’s no coincidence both star the amazing Giulietta Masina (also Fellini’s wife of some 50 years), whose melancholy and whimsy define the resonant themes of each story. Specifically in La Strada, Gelsomina’s(Masina) smile, her tears, even her trumpet engage post WWII Italy in ways seldom seen since, tearing the heart out of an angst-ridden nation unable to grapple with her naiveté and child-like innocence. It’s simply impossible not to be moved by the final musical notes whispering on the ocean wind as Zampano (Anthony Quinn), realizing his brutishness has been a meager mask for his inadequacy, crumbles to the sand destroyed with regret. Gets me every time.

4 thoughts on “La Strada (Fellini, 1954)

  1. La Strada is not only one of the greatest films ever made, but also the most unusual love story. Fellini directed Quinn and Masina brilliantly. I have to watch this about every 6 months or so. I have been searching for the original Italian movie poster for La Strada, which for some reason is very rare and hard to find.

    Ralph DeLuca
    Madison, NJ

  2. Ralph – you’re absolutely right. The film strikes a cord in me each time I watch it, unlike any other Fellini film.

  3. When I saw her as a 14/15 yo boy, I was struck, overwhelmed (..still am!). How to describe! Must be love!
    At that time 1954 in Germanys still-post-time-war, the majority of persons was pretending “straigt-fowardism”, “one-has-to-be-so-&-not-so”, “must-be`s”. Pretending characters, what they are actually not are, anything exept their own personallity (!).
    What a difference to that she is! One can see her feelings & thinking. … my life life was changed.
    I love her.
    Rolf

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